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    • Rose Robertson ’24 and Zack Haywood ’24 rehearse a particularly dramatic moment in the One Acts.

    • From left to right: Owen Lamothe ’22, Munib Kassem ’25, Kian Ahmadi ’24, and Asher Joseph ’25 rehearse for the One Acts.

The Winter One Acts: An “Edukational” Production

Sarvin Bhagwagar ’24 Campus Correspondent
On December 9, 10, and 11, the Hopkins Drama Association (HDA) put on the latest iteration of its student-directed Winter One Acts. This year, the show contained eighteen sketches and songs, all under ten minutes in length, from the famed comedy troupe Monty Python, in Monty Python’s Edukational Show. The directors selected for the Winter One Acts this year were seniors Felipe Perez, Anand Choudhary, Talia Chang, Ty Eveland, and Erin Low, and juniors Will Schroth-Douma, Sophia Neilson, and Abigail Murphy.
Covid-19 impacted rehearsals this year, forcing members of the Winter One-Acts to take precautions that adversely affected rehearsals. Calderone
said, “Rehearsals have been masked and...have been small with only five or six kids together at one time...We’re following on with the Covid-19 protocols we did during Sense & Sensibility [HDA’s fall play] where the actors will be unmasked when on stage (masked backstage), the audience will be masked, and proof of vaccination will be required upon entry.” Rehearsal stage manager Hannah Ceisler ’22 described the One Acts as similar to HDA’s shows before Covid-19, with the exception of “wearing masks during rehearsals.” Ceisler pointed out that while the show is similar to pre-pandemic shows, “in comparison to last year, it is very different, as last year’s One Acts took place entirely on Zoom.” Rehearsal stage man- ager Lena O’Malley ’25 said the show this year was a “little different because we [couldn’t] see our actors’ faces during nor- mal rehearsals and we [couldn’t] practice facial reactions.” Murphy said, “Performances and rehearsals are basically back to normal. The one restriction is masks, but we have had a year to adapt to using them so that has not yet been a problem. Just like our fall production of Sense and Sensibility, the actors [performed] without masks.”

The cast and crew of the One Acts also faced some challenges unrelated to Covid-19 that they had to work through. Calderone said that the directors and stage managers, along with the tech crew, did a “great job.” However, Calderone also said that time was a challenge, and “a week’s vacation popping up two weeks before one opens a show always throws a wrench in the works.” Perez said, “In this busy fall, scheduling [was] a issue. Everyone seems to be doing a million things and finding shared free time is very hard.” Director Will Schroth-Douma ’23 stated, “Due to the iconic nature of these scenes, there’s been a bit of an internal struggle trying to figure out where I can personalize/tweak things to my liking, and where I simply have to let the original staging/design/performance of the scenes guide the way.” Despite these obstacles, Murphy said, “Both actors and directors have been professional and we have been able to work around all of those difficulties.”

Calderone had wanted to produce sketches by Monty Python for years. He says, “they’re the creators of creative and wacky movies such as The Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail which [was] transformed into the musical HDA put on recently, Spamalot.” Rehearsal stage manager Beyla Ridky ’24 said, “The acts are humorous, and almost all of them [were] per- formed by different small groups of actors.” Schroth-Douma said, “We had songs, dancing, absurdist comedy, [and] intellectual comedy in... a really dynamic and entertaining show.” Despite the logistical obstacles they faced, the directors and stage managers raved about their experiences with the production. Murphy said, “I have loved theater almost my entire life, so any show that HDA does, I will want to be a part of!” Schroth-Douma said Monty Python “has held a special place in my heart for quite some time. I must’ve watched Holy Grail for the first time when I was around eight or nine, and I was hooked on all their material ever since.”

The show was the first for the directors, but Perez said he is “so grateful for all the support [he’s] received from Mr. Calderone, other directors, and [his] own actors and tech.” This year’s One Acts were also the first time O’Malley stage managed: “I have never been a stage manager at Hopkins but I am definitely enjoying it so far. My director [Talia Chang ’22] is awesome and I really have loved working with her. I also adore working with the actors because they are very fun to be around.” While there have been challenges along the way, Ceisler said it was “really fun to work on” and, before the show, said, “the people who come to see it will really enjoy it.”

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